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With the start of the Internet and undesired bulk e-mail messages, “Spam” took on a new meaning. In Hawaii, this magical mystery meat never lost its relevance. Island residents eat over 6 million cans of SPAM a year, taking the crown as the biggest SPAM consumers in the world.
So what is it about this miracle meat in a can? Introduced in the 1930s, this pre-cooked pork shoulder became a favorite with the general public and military during war time. While there are many stories behind the name, the official explanation is that “Spam” was chosen from a naming contest where the winner got $100. Yet a Hormel official stated that the original meaning was “Shoulder of Pork and Ham” becoming what we know as SPAM.
How did this food become so popular in Hawaii? Needing no refrigeration, the pork product soon became one of three items islanders historically would stock up on along with toilet paper and rice during threats of hurricanes, tsunamis, or dockworkers’ strikes.
By far, Hawaiians’ favorite dish is SPAM Musubi, a ready-to-eat SPAM snack that looks like a brick. In Hawaii, you can buy Musubi for under $3 in nearly any convenience store and even get it with your McDonald’s breakfast.
A great opportunity to try this tropical treat is at the 6th Annual SPAM JAM held May 3rd. It is a Waikiki street festival celebrating Hawaii’s love for Spam. Even if eating SPAM sounds a little scary, you should check out the SPAM Jam. Where else can you see a giant 313 foot SPAM and weighing 275 lbs? You know what they say – “Cold or hot, SPAM hits the spot!”
Images By R.Huo